Great Western Franchise Direct Award announced 23/03/15

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Head Office Circular No HO/047/15                                                                              
23rd March 2015
 
TO:  ALL BRANCHES, REGIONAL COUNCILS,
REGIONAL OFFICES, COUNCIL OF EXECUTIVES and HO OFFICERS.
 
Dear Colleagues
    
Great Western Franchise Direct Award announced 23/03/15
 
In more shameless electioneering the Secretary of State for Transport today announced the Great Western Franchise Direct Award in a stitch up with First Group. The information given by the Minister can be found here.
 
https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-deal-for-rail-passengers-in-west-of-england-and-wales
 
Whilst trumpeting some improvements there is no mention of the loss of full catering facilities in standard class, which is widely expected once the contract details are released. Nor is the role of the Guard mentioned, just vague assurances that more ‘Customer Ambassadors’ will be available along with more ‘Station Assistance’ staff.
 
The money that First Group are to pay for this franchise is a paltry £68 million from September 2015 to April 2019. A drop in the ocean when you consider the franchise was subsidised to the tune of £230 million by the tax payer in 2013-14 alone. This is a bad day for ripped off passengers paying the double whammy of taxes and fares.
 
It is a secret deal, stitched up in private with no other bidders that allows First Group to continue to make vast profits on the back of tax payer investment both in railway infrastructure and the new IEP trains that are going to be introduced.
 
RMT Parliamentary Group are tabling urgent questions about this announcement today in Parliament, RMT has a meeting with FGW on Thursday and we will issue further detailed information to all as and when it is made available.
 
Yours sincerely
 
Mick Cash
General Secretary